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County falls short on sales tax revenue

A sluggish economy isn't helping St. Croix County's bottom line as 2007 sales tax receipts fell behind those received for 2006.

Finance Director Michelle Pietrick waited until March, after sales tax collected by merchants in December arrived, to ask the County Board's Finance Committee to transfer $189,736 from the General Fund to the sales tax account. Without the transfer, she said, the account would have a deficit.

"It's a harbinger of worse things to come," commented Supervisor Daryl Standafer, North Hudson, as the committee agreed to transfer the money.

The account had been running a surplus, but the County Board used $441,517 of sales tax money to balance the 2007 budget.

Receipts from the county's half-cent sales tax brought $5.34 million into county coffers from 2006 sales, but only $5.14 million from 2007 sales.

Neighboring Pierce County, with far less retail businesses and thus less sales tax receipts, took in more in sales tax in 2007 than in 2006.

Department of Revenue charts show Pierce County received $1.52 million in 2006 and $1.53 million in 2007.

As a group, the state's counties collected more in 2007 than in 2006, but only $9.8 million more, an increase of 3.6 percent.